Landrum Human Resource Companies Blog


Health Care Reform Updates

ALandrum_obamacare_final_Layout 1vailable for Kindle and in paperback.   Click Here to view on Amazon.com

  “The Busy Business Owner’s Updated Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know”  

    by Ted A. Kirchharr

We have added a page to our blog that is designed to keep you updated and informed on current policies and/or changes in the Health Care Reform Law.  Updates will be posted on that page as we become aware of new developments.  Please visit often to stay current or sign up to receive email alerts.

To read about the latest updates to the Health Care Reform Law go to:  http://landrumhrblog.com/about/health-care-reform-law-updates/



Yet, Another ACA DEAdline Extension

Written by Ted A. Kirchharr on Wednesday February 25,2015

It may not come as a big surprise to learn that there is another delay in a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Recent polling has suggested that many Americans were not aware of the tax consequences of the individual mandate, the provision of the law that requires all Americans to obtain health insurance.

Since the open enrollment period for obtaining health insurance through Healthcare.gov has already passed, the administration is granting a special enrollment period from March 15 to April 30th for those individuals who attest that they were not aware of the tax penalty until after February 15, 2015. You are still liable for the tax in 2014 ($95 per adult, $47.50 per child or 1% of income—whichever is greater) and you are still liable for the tax for the months you were uninsured in 2015. Remember the annual penalty goes up in 2015 to $325 per adult, $162.50 per child or 2% of income, whichever is higher.

If you have not obtained health insurance, this special enrollment period will give you another opportunity to comply.


As Ted A. KirchharrVice President of Marketing and Benefits, Ted is responsible for Landrum’s strategic planning, benefits administration, information technology, sales and marketing. He has helped hundreds of organizations pursue strategic planning, institute quality management, hone organizational development, instill leadership training and improve employee engagement. He has authored or co-authored a number of professional publications and edited and contributed to the eBook Employee Development: Big Company Results on a Small Business Budget; currently listed as a Human Resources and Personnel Management Kindle best seller. His latest book, The Busy Business Owner’s Guide to Health Care Reform: What You Need to Know, was released in December 2012 with an updated Third Edition released in December 2014, on Amazon.com.

Ted is regularly invited to speak at community and national organizations on the subject of healthcare reform. Ted can be contacted at TKirchharr@LandrumHR.com.



Motivation: What’s Your Method of Delivery? Make it a Team Approach
January 8, 2015, 12:02 pm
Filed under: Human Resources, Joni Humphreys | Tags: , ,

Motivation: What’s Your Method of Delivery?  Make it a Team Approach

posted by:  Joni Humphreys on January 8, 2015

I was included in an email from our Staffing and Recruiting Manager that was sent to kick off a new week at the office. The email consisted of only three bulleted words but I felt like those three words packed an abundance of motivation.

  • Determination – It’s all about mindset. If we begin our day by telling ourselves we’re determined, we can usually accomplish what we set out to do. We might be determined to just simply have a good day, or to get items marked off our To Do list. Whatever it is, set your mind to it and do it!
  • Enthusiasm – We are here to help others each day. That’s what we do, whether it’s our clients, employees or each other. Know that you have the ability to affect everyone around you just by being excited about what you do. Embrace the true nature of what we do – helping people! If you’re able to do this, it’s easy to be enthusiastic about your job.
  • Confidence – You are the expert! We are called upon by our clients because they trust us and the knowledge we have in order to help make their jobs easier. Remember, you do this every day, its second nature. Believe in yourself and your team.

It’s not unusual for Mandy Resmondo to send her staff motivational messages, but it was this particular one that I inquired and asked her to expound not only on those three bulleted words but also her process in which she chooses and delivers her messages.

According to Resmondo, her message serves as a reminder. “Year-end is hectic and we’re all pushing to meet goals. We’re determined to do so, but at the same time we must continue to offer excellent service. It can be tough to remain enthusiastic this time of year, so these words provided a good reminder to everyone.”

It was interesting to learn that many of her messages derive from a weekly staff meeting. This team approach strengthens the overall focus and staff cohesiveness.

The “phrase of the week” is selected during a Monday morning meeting and can be based on a variety of topics:

  1. Sales theme for the current week or quarter
  2. Responses from staff when asked about the company goals and expectations
  3. Inspiration from a co-worker
  4. A positive message or outcome as a result of helping a client
  5. A relevant topic or project on the “to do list”

Sharing words of inspiration and/or positive messages is a good motivator for employees and helps get everyone going on the same page. Here are some ways Mandy and her staff share their weekly motivational messages:

  1. Presented at a weekly meeting
  2. Included in an early morning email
  3. Displayed on a white board
  4. Archived for later reference
  5. Written reminders at individual’s desks

We all need positive reinforcement in our lives both at work and home. It’s never too late or early to start. What are some ways you encourage or motivate your staff to stay positive? Do you have a unique or fun method of delivery? We’d love to hear from you.



Workplace Holiday Parties (Without the Legal Hangover)
November 20, 2014, 12:57 pm
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: , , , ,

I know, I know, you haven’t even had your turkey and dressing yet, but tis the season to plan your company party. Taking time to set proper expectations could be the difference between a Winter Wonderland and the Nightmare Before Christmas.

A recent survey shows that 58% of companies will be having some form of off-site year-end celebration this season. Great news for the fun loving employee – frightful trepidation for the HR department. Good News – it doesn’t have to be.

Holiday parties can bring out questionable behavior in even the most mild-mannered employee. Something about being outside of the actual office setting can cause employees to lose their inhibitions and put that darn lampshade on their head. While a successful office party should be a time for putting a jingle in your mingle, it is still important for all employees to remain professional and respectful.

Here are some tips for the office party planner:

Consider sending an email prior to the event reminding all employees to celebrate and enjoy the night in a festive, yet professional manner.

Make it clear that the event is purely voluntary so there is no confusion regarding pay.

Communicate proper dress code ahead of time so that all employees are aware of the proper attire.

Discuss with supervisors how to properly handle any policy violations that are observed during the event.

Make sure that all members of senior management know to set a proper example (“Umm excuse me, Mrs. CFO, could you remove that lampshade from your head?” That could be awkward).

Take steps to ensure that overindulgence is kept to a minimum, if alcohol is served (not recommended) establish a set number of drink “tickets” ahead of time; better yet, have a cash bar with some or all proceeds going to a local charity. We don’t tend to drink as much if we are buying. Have you ever noticed that?

Have a plan in case there is a need to provide a taxi ride/transportation.

These parties could potentially become a source of liability for employers; however, there are ways to ensure that everyone has a great time which is, after all, the whole point! May your tinsel never tangle, your lights always shine, and your holidays be merry.



Think Pink! – The ADA and Cancer in the Workplace
October 21, 2014, 11:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

 Compressed -Michele Hynes

    

     written by Michele Hynes, PHR – HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources


PINK! PINK! It’s everywhere this month… on the football field, in your favorite stores, even lighting up the night sky. As a business owner, HR professional or human being, we all want to support and encourage cancer patients and survivors. But are we protecting them in the workplace? Are we discriminating against them without even realizing?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. As a result of changes made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) people who currently have a cancer diagnosis, are in remission, or have a history of cancer fit the definition of “disability”. With the revision of the disability definition employers are prohibited from making employment decisions based on an applicant’s or employee’s cancer history or current diagnosis.

A recent story out of Pennsylvania indicates a doctor terminated a 12-year employee due to her cancer diagnosis. He sent a registered, handwritten letter to the employee’s home stating her illness would be “significant and distracting” and that she would not be able to “function” in my office at the level required while battling for your life. Because of this, I am laying you off without pay as of August 11, 2014.”

Whether or not this diagnosis will take a physical toll on this employee’s health, she is still protected under the ADA, which means she is protected from job discrimination as long as she is able to perform the essential functions of her job. When questioned, the doctor stated he was only looking out for his long-term employee and meant her no harm. In the court of public opinion, however, his actions appeared suspicious and the motive behind his action was questioned. Don’t get caught unaware and let this happen to you! The EEOC has created an extensive list of Questions and Answers on this very topic. Please visit http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/cancer.cfm for more information.

As we proudly wear our PINK this month in show of support for all survivors and those we have lost, let’s also remember to check our practices to make sure we are not negatively impacting those that are already fighting the fight of their life.



Peer to Boss: It Can Be Done
October 15, 2014, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Human Resources | Tags: , , , , ,

Tracy Herman, SPHR HR Manager Landrum Human Resources

 

written by Tracy Herman, SPHR – HR Manager at Landrum Human Resources


The day you have been dreaming of is here. You have just become a boss. Now what do you do?

According to Careerbuilder.com, more than 60% of new leaders don’t receive any supervisory training at all and are expected to hit the road running the first day on their new job. This leaves them to learn their new responsibilities through trial and error. Even worse, 42% of new supervisors have no idea what is expected of them! Organizations that do provide training often deliver it too late, or the training lacks focus on skills that help new leaders become effective in communication, collaboration, and coaching skills.

Acquiring these skills can be tricky and is an ongoing process. For first time managers and leaders, knowing how to do it “right” is a key stepping stone on the road to success. The good news is that the needed skills to make the transition from team player to team leader can be learned!

Earlier in my career when I first assumed the role of supervisor, I was fortunate enough to have a strong mentor guide me through the challenges of becoming a boss that people would respect. She also helped me gain the ability to provide appropriate direction to help team members become successful.

The first step I took was to have upfront conversations with each department member. More importantly, I listened! Part of the discussion was about loss and gain from the new relationship. The loss was the peer relationship of sharing the same work level issues no longer applied. If perceived as a friend and not a supervisor, your team may doubt your ability to be effective. They may feel you can’t (or won’t) address performance issues with staff members or make difficult decisions that are best for the department. The gain could be that some of the good ideas floating around the department may get implemented because of a new decision maker’s perspective (be a champion of change!).

We talked about team member goals and where they saw themselves in their careers, both short and long term. We also discussed department and organization needs and how each individual would play a role in meeting those goals.

One department member had also worked hard for the position I was promoted to and we discussed her struggle with not being selected. She felt she had been “passed over” and not sure she would be long term with the company anymore. I periodically conducted meetings with the employee to gauge morale, and although she eventually moved to another department our working relationship remained good.

I then began to establish goals for the department and more importantly, held everyone accountable to them through quarterly reviews. A team leader needs to lead with firm direction and not falter like a rudderless ship. I made slight changes over time and began delegating responsibilities to empower department members, giving them ownership of the department’s successes (and errors).

Forbes magazine offers these additional tips for new supervisors:

  1. Don’t cheapen your role by telling everyone “nothing will change”
  2. Make boundaries
  3. Get “out of the loop”
  4. Stop doing your old job
  5. Ask. Be quiet. Listen.

In conclusion, it isn’t about being popular; it’s about leading others to achieve results.

Additional Resources:

www.budtoboss.com

www.bizcoachinfo.com



It’s July 2nd –Have You talked To Your Employees about Fireworks Safety?

It’s July 2nd –Have You talked To Your Employees about Fireworks Safety?

 posted by Joni K. Humphreys on Wednesday, July 2, 2014

This weekend will be filled with red, white, and blue and it’s a good bet that your employees have made plans to celebrate!   And why not? Independence Day – the Fourth of July – the day to celebrate and honor our country!

I am reminded of a previous blog post by our President and CEO, H. Britt Landrum, Jr. a few years ago; “Independence Day: Reflection and Celebration” . His writing reminds us of how brave and wise the founding fathers of our country were and how we should never forget the wisdom displayed.

During this weekend of fun we also need to be reminded to be safe! So, as we plan our barbeque, pack our beach bag, or gather around the swimming pool let’s remember the safety rules and precautions we need to take. This is especially true if you or your employees plan to light a sparkler or firecracker in the backyard! Of course, to have a truly safe and fun 4th of July, go to a professional fireworks show!

We hope everyone has a very happy and safe Independence Day Holiday! Here are a few websites that offer great safety advice for your July 4th outdoor events:

The National Council on Fireworks Safety

USA.gov offers history and fun facts about Independence Day as well as Fireworks Safety Tips, Pool Safety, Boating Safety, and Barbeque Safety!

Kids Safety with Fireworks includes a great safety video.

National Fire Protection Association

july 4



Pay Now or Pay Later: Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm and the US Department of Labor

Pay Now or Pay Later: Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm and the US Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division is geared up for another busy year of investigating wage and hour violations. One recent win for the Department and employees of Fat Law’s Farm, Inc. resulted in an order to pay a total of $460,000 for labor violations. $428,800 went to back wages and liquidated damages. $31,200 in civil money penalties was assessed because of the deplorable housing, safety and health conditions in direct violation of the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act.

Fat Law’s Farm produces and supplies herbs and vegetables in Hawaii for export to U.S. mainland and Canada. The company employed roughly 40 Filipino and southeastern Asian agricultural employees. In addition to wages, workers were provided housing on the farm and supplied a kitchen, lodging and laundry area.

Photo Credit goes to the HawaiiReporter.com

Photo from the HawaiiReporter.com NOTE: Photos of Fat Law Farm were provided by the Department of Labor at Hawaii Reporter’s request.

In 2013 the U.S. District Court in Hawaii issued a search warrant that permitted the Wage and Hour investigators to gain access to Fat Law’s Farm and obtain a clear picture of the pay practices and working conditions maintained by the employer.

The investigation revealed that between 2011 and 2013 Fat Law’s Farm failed to pay agricultural workers minimum wage for all hours worked, did not pay overtime wages, failed recording-keeping provisions as required by FLSA, and provided substandard living conditions. DOL was able to determine the company’s Filipino workers were predominantly paid at $7.25 per hour with overtime compensation, but other workers, mainly from Laos, were paid $5 per hour in cash, without overtime, and worked 70 hours per week on average.

In addition to the wage and hour violations, the disparity in pay could lead to an additional investigation by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and may warrant investigations by other agencies to determine if tax, insurance and employee mandate provisions were violated.

For additional information:

Consent Judgment

Hawaii’s Fat Law’s Farm to pay $460,000 for labor violations following US Department of Labor investigation

Fact Sheet #49: The Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act

Hawaii Reporter

____________________________________________________

Eileen Hess, PHR

Eileen Hess, PHR

Eileen carries out the role of Human Resources Manager for Landrum Professional Employer Services in Pensacola Florida, serving clients in multiple states. In this role, she advises clients on current and trending state and federal laws influencing human resources. Eileen also provides assistance in dispute resolution and utilization of best human resources standards. She serves as a knowledgeable and trusted advisor to clients “helping them to work a better way”. Eileen has over 20 years of human resources experience in the corporate, healthcare, and manufacturing environments, and certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) through the Human Resource Certification Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management.

 

 




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